Clogged or slow drains can be a real nuisance. Whether it’s a backed-up kitchen sink that makes washing up difficult, or a slow shower drain that threatens to spill over onto the bathroom floor, drain issues can be troublesome.
Luckily, fixing a slow or blocked drain doesn’t have to be an enormous chore. There are a few simple fixes anyone can try that will usually sort the problem out quickly and easily. So next time you’ve got a clogged sink or your toilet is overflowing, why not try these simple DIY remedies before typing ‘plumbers near me’ into Google?
Kitchen sinks often block due to greasy, fatty residue that gets stuck in the pipes. As a result, while the drain might not respond to other unblocking methods, something as simple as boiling water can work wonders.
Start off by getting rid of any standing water in the sink, then pour an entire kettle of freshly boiled water straight down the plughole. You may need to repeat this process a few times to melt the residue and remove the blockage. And if it doesn’t work straight away, try prepping the drain by pouring salt down first.
Vinegar and baking soda
This homemade Drano recipe is great because it causes a physical, chemical reaction that dissolves and removes blockages but is nowhere near as harsh or dangerous as store-bought chemical drain cleaners. When you combine vinegar and baking soda, it creates a fizzing reaction that can often dislodge trapped debris.
Start off by putting 1 cup baking soda straight down the drain, then follow it up with 1 cup vinegar. Leave it for a quarter of an hour, then pour hot water down the plughole to see if it has worked.
Snake the drain
A plumber’s snake is an incredibly simple tool that no household should be without. It is essentially just a small piece of plastic tubing with serrated ‘teeth’ on both sides that catch and latch on to any hair or trapped residue in a pipe.
You push the snake down the drain and through the pipe before withdrawing it slowly and carefully. Any hair that has got stuck down the drain (as well as other filth that has caught in the hair) should get dragged out with it.
Clean the drain trap
Almost every sink comes with a drain trap, sometimes known as a U-pipe or P-trap. Food and other detritus can easily build up in the trap and cause slow draining, clogging, or total blockage.
To clean the drain trap, you need to drain any standing water, put a bucket underneath the pipe to catch any residual water, then use a wrench to unscrew the pipe. You can then empty the trap and use a pipe cleaner or scrubbing brush to ensure it’s completely free of residue. Run some hot water through the pipes to thoroughly clean everything, then replace the trap.
If you have a plumber’s snake, it’s worth taking the opportunity to snake the drain beyond the drain trap, as it can be hard to reach if you are starting from the sink itself.
Most bathrooms have a plunger either by the toilet or hidden away under the sink. Plunging blocked or overflowing toilets is commonplace, but did you know you can use a plunger to fix almost any kind of drain blockage as well? It’s a quick fix that, with patience and practice, can be a great way to deal with regular clogging.
Plug up the overflow hole in your drain, pop the plunger over the drain, and fill the sink with a bit of water. Ensuring the seal is tight, work the plunger up and down to get rid of the blockage. Once you lift the plunger and the water begins to flow away, you’ve succeeded!
It’s worth looking for a mini-plunger in your local hardware store as these are far more convenient for sinks than a regular toilet plunger.
If you’ve exhausted all other options, regular store-bought drain cleaners can shift all manner of clogs and blockages. Just be sure to handle it with care, as the chemicals in drain cleaners are powerful and can be extremely dangerous to touch.
Fixing blocked drains doesn’t have to be a hassle, and much of the time, a DIY solution is the best one. However, if you do find an issue that you just can’t deal with, give us a call, and we’ll get the job one quickly and effectively.